Yesterday, USDA reported that with 97% of the corn crop now panted, the 2010 crop is off to an outstanding start. Last year at this time, 92% or the corn crop was planted. Over the past 5 years, the planting rate averaged 96% on June 1.

The emergence of the corn plants is also well ahead of last year (71%) and the 5-year average (80%).

USDA also reported that 76% of the corn crop is in “good” or “excellent” condition, ahead of the 70% reported last year. USDA also reported 85% of the spring wheat crop is in “good” or “excellent” condition (vs. the 73% reported last year) and 65% of the winter wheat crop is in “good” or “excellent” condition (vs. the 45% reported last year).

“Although down from the prior year, we note that corn, soybean and wheat prices remain well above historical averages, and farmers are expected to remain profitable in 2010,” says Henry Kirn, machinery analyst for UBS.

USDA forecasts cash net income to increase 8% year-over-year in 2010.